Treasures Found at the Door

Every once in awhile…as Gerard unlocks the museum for the day…a mystery package greets him–a box, a bag, and once, a beautiful cast iron bell. It is always fun to see what treasures someone has left for our collection.

I remember in the past some historic photography. Photographs are special, especially if they are from historic collections. Photography was expensive, and traveled out of the Civil War era by famous studio photographer, Matthew Brady and his crews. It took awhile for photographs to reach the rural Midwest and many folks could not afford the traveling photo sessions. So, whenever we receive historic photographs, it is a special gift to our site. Please remember to print some of your digital photographs periodically, and LABEL THEM. Whenever we receive photos with labels, it is an additional bonus.

Recently, there was an eclectic container of books left at the door, and they were awesome. Firstly, there was an early LCMS Hymnal addition, not previously in our collection.

In that mysterious donor collection was additional unusual titles, such as an early copy of, The Theories of Cosmotology. My favorite piece in the mystery collection was the 1959 edition of the Pillsbury Cookbook.

It is special because it was edited by Ann Pillsbury, a fictitious character created to represent “every woman” in 1944. The 1959 special edition cookbook is a large compilation of the first 10 years of the Pillsbury “Bake Off.” In the 1950’s, the new modern kitchen ruled the home. I noted that many of the winning recipes had clever names. The quick bread recipes caught my eye, and I copied this one, for “Magic Molasses Bread.” It was tempting to try something with the word “Magic” in the title. My Mom, Carolyn Taylor, made it for us this week. We enjoyed a slice with our breakfast for several days. It was simply delicious. A warm slice of quick bread with coffee is a special winter treat.

I enjoyed looking at this vintage era of cookbook history so much, that Doc ordered a copy for us to add to our collection from a vintage book site. As a historic side note, the non-fiction founder of the Pillsbury Company was Charles Alfred Pillsbury of Minneapolis. He founded the company with his uncle in 1869. Charles was also a state senator. He developed his flour business to hold a place as top flour industry in the world. He invented a new process of milling wheat with steel rollers instead of the traditional stone grinding process. The steel rollers made it possible to use, the typically difficult to mill, hard spring wheat, creating a high quality flour.

Our next venture from the new/old Pillsbury cookbook will be “Ring-a-Lings,” a twisted yeast bread with orange rind and an orange juice glaze–the Grand Prize yeast bread winner in 1959, by Bertha Jorgensen, of Portland, Oregon. They might be a yummy morning treat at the Museum for Warren’s 70th birthday on Wednesday.

I hope the donor of this wonderful collection of books will step forward, so I can properly thank them. The collection has brought us quite a bit of deep mid-winter joy, and some fun historic research.

Come and see us, Carla Jordan


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